Dodgers News: Freddie Freeman Has Emerged as a Leader in the Clubhouse This Season
So far, so great for the Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodger era. While his numbers wouldn’t tell you, he admits his first season in blue had its challenges mentally. He’d left the only team he’d ever known when he signed a six year deal with LA. He spent the first 15 seasons of his professional career with the Atlanta Braves, earning a league MVP, multiple All-Star berths, and even a World Series ring along the way. Then the Braves traded for his replacement without even speaking with him.
Freddie, dealing with the heartbreak of leaving his home behind, suited up for the Dodgers and produced — even if he wasn’t quite ready to. In his first season with LA, he led the league in hits and doubles and played well enough to be in the top five of MVP voting in the National League.
Now in the midst of year two, he’s ready to do even more.
Bill Plunkett over at the OC Register reported on the new leadership duties Freeman is taking on this season.
“Gosh, it’s completely different. He’s just much more settled, comfortable,” Dave Roberts said. “I think we’re seeing the real version of Freddie this year. I think last year, coming into the season, there was just a lot of things that were unfinished as far as closure. Now … he’s just in a much better head space.”
That “real version” involves Freeman stepping forward in more of a leadership role. He organized a team dinner in Arizona last week when the Dodgers went on their first road trip of the season.Via OC Register
That dinner task usually fell on Justin Turner, the unofficial team captain of the last few years. When Turner left LA to sign with the Boston Red Sox, the question was asked often… who will step forward as the new clubhouse leader? Freddie was asked multiple times in the offseason. It appears he took it as a hint.
Freeman was the unquestioned leader of the Braves, so he has the experience to do it well.
His influence on the team is visible every day. Freeman does a daily defensive drill with coach Dino Ebel in front of the Dodgers’ dugout. Miguel Vargas has started doing it as well and Betts has recently added it to his routine. A hitting drill Freeman frequently does in the cage aimed at instilling an all-fields approach was adopted by Gavin Lux last year, rookie James Outman and even veteran J.D. Martinez this year.
With Freddie, the Dodgers are in good hands.
What does the new Dodger hand signal mean? The one where after the player gets a hit he separates his hands like he’s opening curtains.